Editor’s Note: Responding to hate

We offer our deepest condolences, remembrances of peace, and love to everyone impacted by the Oak Creek temple shooting in Milwaukee.

oak creek temple shooting victims

Left: The late Satwant Singh Kaleka. Right: temple goers waiting for news (Getty Images).

I know what you’re thinking. Jugni Style doesn’t cover politics, religion or other volatile things. We cover fun stuff like fashion, film, makeup and music. Despite appearances, we do think about the larger things in our world that impact each and everyone of us. And the mass shooting in Milwaukee, USA affects everyone of us, whether we’re in Canada, the UK or the US, or we practice different faiths, or have different shades of skin.

That morning, I was sifting through photographs and releases from Lakme Fashion Week, going on right now in Mumbai, when a tweet from Sepia Mutiny caught my eye. A shooting at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee. I spent the next few hours shifting between Twitter, Facebook, ABC, CNN, and blogs, listening to reports leaking limited information about what was going on in the temple. It was surreal. The theatre shooting had only happened a few weeks ago, how could another mass attack take place so soon?

Our collective hearts hurt. Reading about how temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka put his life in danger to stop the gunman, and ultimately gave up his life to defend his family and friends from hate. Watching live video feeds from a local affiliate station, where Kaleka’s eloquent son spoke about the community, faith and practice, while he waited to hear if his mother was okay. And discussing with friends and colleagues about what this all means in the aftermath of the attack.

There’s a lot of talk around who to blame for the attack, how Sikhs should differentiate themselves from Muslims, and the general crisis of humanity.

Montreal rapper Sikh Knowledge put it best in a tweet:

And politician, Jagmeet Singh:

Spoken word artist and rapper, Humble the Poet, put it eloquently, if not emotionally:

If it’s not motivated by racial divides, or misplaced aggression and fear, it’s motivated by resentment, frustration, political expression, a need to be noticed, or a simple urge to destroy.

I DO have faith that some will take these latest events and use them as motivation to encourage unity amongst communities, cultures, and people. I hope those that have strong feelings and passion right now can maneuver that energy into something productive for the betterment of all.

 

What I think: Racism and hate are alive, and we can’t keep pretending it isn’t because we live in multicultural or melting pot societies. We need to find ways to fight this, redefine our larger communities, and insist on real antiracism education that moves beyond Multiculturalism Day at school where we eat ethnic foods, or going to cultural festivals to look a pretty dances.

Hold those you love close. Write an op-ed piece to your local newspaper. Host a salon over wine and cheese and talk to your friends about what’s happened and what to do as a collective. Talk to your children’s teachers about how they cover racism and cultural difference. Call your local school board and demand that antiracism teaching be a priority. We all need to do something.

Manjot Bains
Editorial Director, Jugni Style